Cape Times

From employed to self-employed – three questions to ask yourself before taking the leap to entreprene­urship

- BEN BIERMAN Ben Bierman is the managing director of Business Partners.

FOR SOME PEOPLE, side hustles remain exactly that – an after-hours business or vocation that isn’t as demanding as their 9-to-5. For others, however, side hustles can show potential to become something more.

In these scenarios, entreprene­urs sometimes reach the point of “make or break”, where it’s time to make the all-important decision on whether to turn a side hustle into a fully-fledged business.

This experience can be just as exciting as it is daunting, but by putting a few important building blocks in place, you can make sure that you’re 100% ready and poised for success when the time comes to take the leap.

You can start by asking yourself these three vital questions:

1. Have I sense-checked my business idea with someone I trust?

In the world of entreprene­urship, a lot of emphasis is placed on the quality of a business idea. Entreprene­urs by nature are brilliant problem-solvers and have the ability to come up with ideas that are truly groundbrea­king, unique and even revolution­ary. The problem, however, is that even the best, most well-thoughtout, mind-blowing ideas still don’t sell themselves. In reality, having a great idea and believing wholeheart­edly in its ability to be the “next big thing” is only about 20% of what needs to be done to actually be successful. This is why it’s vital to get a second opinion – which can be tricky, because it’s also unwise to share your idea with anyone unless you trust them completely.

But once you find the person – or persons – you want to use to sensecheck your thinking, share that idea with them in the same way as you may pitch it to an investor or a business partner. What you’ll be looking to get out of this experience is an unbiased opinion from someone who is honest and open enough to give you their unfiltered view on the idea. They can help you identify any blind spots, flag potential pitfalls, ask questions you may not have considered and get some of the raw excitement out the way so you can get practical about what needs to happen next.

2. Do I have a solid plan on how to finance this business?

Capital is – and will arguably always be – an entreprene­ur’s biggest challenge. This is a fact that has been confirmed year after year by the Business Partners Limited SME Index, as well as other leading industry reports. For this reason, getting on top of the financial aspect of turning a side hustle into a business is vitally important.

Once a business plan has been drawn up, the next step is to choose the best way to raise the working capital needed to get the idea off the ground. For some entreprene­urs, it may be necessary to apply for SME funding at this point.

Either way, you need to understand what the long-term implicatio­ns of financing the business will be – whether that’s planning how to repay a small business loan, saving towards the next phase of growth, or diversifyi­ng your revenue streams.

Before going ahead, it’s essential to have the financial aspect tied down. To do this, you may need to do your research via platforms such as the SME Toolkit, seek the advice and guidance of a business developmen­t consultant, a financial planner or a small-business expert.

3. Am I ready for what it takes to be a successful entreprene­ur?

Although the prospect of becoming self-employed may be exhilarati­ng, you need to understand that being successful will most likely require much personal sacrifice, tenacity and grit. As one entreprene­ur once put it, becoming a business owner means trading in your 8-hour work day for a 16-hour one. That, quite literally, has been the experience of many of today’s most successful people in business. It was Lori Greiner, television personalit­y and entreprene­ur, who said: “Entreprene­urs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.”

Furthermor­e, entreprene­urship requires resilience in the face of setbacks and obstacles, as well as the ability to stay focused and driven towards longterm goals.

Successful entreprene­urs must be willing to take calculated risks and step out of their comfort zones. This often involves embracing uncertaint­y and being open to learning from both successes and failures.

For this reason, it’s important for aspiring entreprene­urs to engage in some introspect­ion – to ask themselves whether they have the time and the energy to take on the challenge at the phase of their life that they are in.

This may require juggling their entreprene­urial responsibi­lities with being a parent or family member, reaching a personal goal or fitting in some muchneeded self-care.

If all these factors align, it may just be time to take a deep breath in and prepare for the plunge.

 ?? ?? THIS EXPERIENCE can be just as exciting as it is daunting, but by putting a few important building blocks in place, you can make sure that you’re 100% ready and poised for success when the time comes to take the leap. | FILE
THIS EXPERIENCE can be just as exciting as it is daunting, but by putting a few important building blocks in place, you can make sure that you’re 100% ready and poised for success when the time comes to take the leap. | FILE
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